Riobaldo’s odyssey carries within itself, implicitly, like a secret thread that guides and justifies it, a metaphysical interrogation about good and evil. The anecdote, the language, the structure of the novel must then be regarded as keys whose profound meaning leads to a mystique one. Neither the work of cloak-and-dagger, nor the tower of Babel, “Grande Sertão: Veredas” would in this perspective be a cathedral full of symbols, a kind of Masonic temple.
— Mario Vargas Llosa, preface to the French translation of the novel
“I discovered João Guimarães Rosa a long time ago. I was completely seduced by this narrative, and it became my bedside book. It’s not just a book that you read, but one that gives us strength to also write”
— Jacques Rancière
In the extraordinary masterpiece Grande Sertão: Veredas there is everything for those who know how to read, and in it everything is strong, beautiful, impeccably accomplished. Each one will be able to approach it to his taste, according to his vocation; but in each aspect the fundamental trait of the author will appear, the total confidence in the freedom to invent.
— Antonio Candido, historian of literature and literary critic, “O homem dos avessos”
Ensaio 69 - CJ0A4940.jpg

Show / installation of Bia Lessa

From João Guimarães Rosa’s masterpiece

Conception, General Direction, Dramaturgy: Bia Lessa
Architecture: Camila Toledo in colaboration with Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Music: Egberto Gismonti
Cast: Caio Blat, Luiza Lemmertz, Fábio Lago, José Maria Rodrigues, Luisa Arraes, Balbino de Paula, Clara Lessa, Daniel Passi, Elias de Castro, Lucas Oranmian

 
THE DRYLAND (sertão) PRODUCED ME, THEN SWALLOWED ME,
THEN SPAT ME FROM THE WARM OF THE MOUTH

For Bia Lessa, only the theatrical spectacle can expand literature’s inovative form. She did not adapt two classical works of the western novel; she took to the stage the novels Orland, by Virginia Woolf, and The Man Without Qualities, by Robert Musil, expanding them. And now, when the nation loses its notion of citizenship and crumbles the Brazilian people’s will, Bia assembles a sculpture in SESC’S living area. In its interior, stages the brilliant and monstrous Grande Sertão: Veredas Great Drylands: Pathways, by our Guimarães Rosa. During the day, the Grande Sertão: Veredas Great Drylands: Pathways rests as if it were a closed book, enticing the visitor’s curiosity.

— Silviano Santiago

WHY I'M BACK TO THE DRYLAND

 

After reading “Grande Sertão”, and enjoying theater as I do, it was impossible not to constantly think of staging it.

I always enjoyed taking literary works to the stage: “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne, “The Possessed” by Dostoievski, “The Man Without Qualities” by Robert Musil, “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf, amongst others. Creating a universe that has not only the word or the discourse as a challenge, but also images, memories, descriptions. These works allowed me to experience what theater has of extraordinary, the possibility of creating images out of nothing (without tricks). I always enjoyed the rawness of the theater, the daily frustration of not attaining perfection, the day-to-day search for utopia. These issues bring theater so close to life that it becomes a vital space of reflection. The live spectacle allows a continuous redoing, a constant search for improvement of the work – “man is not ready, is being finished”